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Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2014 May;39(10):1156-60. doi: 10.1111/apt.12707. Epub 2014 Mar 24.

The effects of oats on the function of gut microflora in children with coeliac disease.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden; Department of Paediatrics, Norrköping Hospital, County Council of Östergötland, Norrköping, Sweden.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Faecal short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are produced by the gut microflora. We have previously reported high faecal SCFA levels in children with coeliac disease (CD), indicating alteration in gut microfloral metabolism. Data accumulated over recent decades by us and others suggest that wheat-free oats can safely be included in a gluten-free diet (GFD). However, concerns have been raised with respect to the safety of oats in a subset of coeliacs.

AIM:

To describe faecal SCFA patterns in children with newly diagnosed CD treated for 1 year with a GFD with or without oats.

METHODS:

This report is part of a randomised, double-blind study on the effect of a GFD containing oats (GFD-oats) vs. a standard GFD (GFD-std). Faecal samples were received from 34 children in the GFD-oats group and 37 in the GFD-std group at initial diagnosis and/or after 1 year on a GFD. Faecal SCFAs were analysed.

RESULTS:

The GFD-std group had a significantly lower total faecal SCFA concentration at 12 months compared with 0 months (P < 0.05). In contrast, total SCFA in the GFD-oats group remained high after 1 year on the GFD. The children in the GFD-oats group had significantly higher acetic acid (P < 0.05), n-butyric acid (P < 0.05) and total SCFA concentration (P < 0.01) after 1-year diet treatment compared to the GFD-std group.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our results indicate that oats do affect the gut microflora function, and that some coeliac children receiving oats may develop gut mucosal inflammation, that may present a risk for future complications.

© 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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